29 thoughtful last-minute DIY gifts anyone would love
A gift guide that works two ways
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Another year at home has kept everyone either binge-watching TV shows or doom-scrolling on social media, hobbyists have had a chance to shine. With nothing but time to kill, knitting projects were finally completed, paintings finished and loaves of bread baked.
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This winter is already more of the same, so we’ve rounded up the best DIY gifts for amateur (or ambitious) makers to give to their loved ones. Or, if you know an enthusiastic crafter who enjoys the process themselves, these kits also make great gifts on their own—no assembly required. (Looking for something more pre-made? We’ve got you covered there too.)
Please note that many of these items could be in high demand as we get closer to Christmas. Don't wait to buy your gifts this year so you can ensure that they'll arrive on time– as shipping could be delayed.
1. For the one having a milestone year: Custom Photo Book
If you’re missing out on a particularly special holiday this year, consider sending a custom photo book from Shutterfly in your place. Since I couldn’t be at my mother’s 60th birthday this year in person, I created a Shutterfly photo book for her. It was exceedingly simple to make and impressive to see all bound together with a leather cover. Whether it’s a baby’s first Christmas or a couple’s first Hanukkah together in a new home, this gift can remind them that friends and family are always close at heart.
2. For the animal-lover: Beginner Crochet Penguin Kit
These adorable crocheted penguins are a perfect stocking stuffer: cute, tiny and easy to make. Reviewers who had never tried crochet before rave about how simple the instructions are (they even demonstrate the best technique for holding the crochet hook in the first place). You’ll have the hang of it in no time and a tiny little penguin friend shortly after.
3. For the person who loves dinosaurs: Dino Soap Making Kit for Kids
Get sudsy with some prehistoric friends with a DIY soap kit. You’ll receive everything you need from scents to colors to dinosaur molds. While this kit is designed for kids, we think it’s perfect for the young at heart. Your giftee will be delighted to make fresh lemon-y scented stegosaurus-shaped soaps. This will make bath time a delight for any age.
4. For the one with retro tastes: Create Your Own Reel Viewer
It’s easy to see why this custom reel viewer has nearly 500 glowing reviews online. Purchase the red plastic toy and redeem the included code to create one custom photo reel of seven 3-D pictures. Commemorate the birth of a child, a wedding day or even just an afternoon making a snowman with the kids. With this reel viewer, your loved one will cherish the memories for years to come.
5. For the fashionista: Tulip Tie Dye Party Kit
Tie-dying has been a huge trend in 2020, with everyone from celebrities to your boss rocking hand-dyed sweatshirts and tees on Zoom calls. Make sure the fashionista in your life isn’t left behind by gifting one-of-a-kind clothing you can create in your backyard. This kit features 14 different colors of dye and enough stock for 36 projects or, at the very least, everyone on your shopping list.
6. For the one who loves glitter: DIY Plastic Snow Globe Kit
Gift your loved one with a sense of whimsy with this DIY snow globe kit that places everything from rainbows to dinosaurs inside a glittery sphere. A bestselling product that comes with two globes, it's earned fans of more than 1,800 reviewers, who say that it's a great kid-friendly project as well (no doubt thanks in part to its shatterproof plastic design).
7. For the one who needs a spa day: Bath Bomb Mold Set
Give your loved one the gift of relaxation this holiday season with these bath bombs they can use to transform their own bathroom into a spa. Made of stain-free dye, these soaps can turn an ordinary bath into a color explosion thanks to 12 different dyes like lemon and lavender that are vegan and gentle on skin. Ten molds help you shape the soaps and the included shrink wrap bags make them easy to gift.
8. For the chocoholic: DIY All Natural Dark Chocolate Making Kit
Show your friend's sweet tooth some love with this DIY chocolate making kit that lets you load up bars with everything from pistachios to coffee to edible glitter. The dairy-free and vegan ingredients are all pre-portioned, so you're only a few steps away from a homemade treat perfect for anyone on your list—just try to resist digging in yourself.
9. For the nostalgic one: Explosion Gift Box Set
If you’ve been missing a special someone during the pandemic, send them a reminder of all the fun times you’ve shared together. This Explosion Gift Box Set looks like a simple black box at first glance, but it expands to feature four layers of photos and cards you add yourself. There’s even a place in the very center to fit a small gift. The kit also includes stickers, paper flowers and double-sided tape to help you bring your creation to life.
10. For the one who always loses their keys: Macramé Key Ring Making Kit
If you’re hesitant to commit to a large DIY project, consider something that would work as a stocking stuffer. This DIY macramé-making kit lets you start small, following step-by-step instructions (with a link to a video), to create a keychain in one of 10 dusty pastel colors. It’s perfect for the person in your life who can use extra help finding them at the bottom of their bag. The kit also includes a cute drawstring bag that’s perfect for gifting.
11. For the friend who has a gallery wall: Sunflower String Art Kit
Brighten up any dreary space with a happy sunflower design from StringoftheArt. The Etsy bestseller takes less than a day to complete and reviewers have noted how easy it is to assemble. If you can wrap a piece of string around a nail, you can make wall-worthy art in no time. Even still, it comes with step-by-step instructions and a template.
12. For the one who enjoys a good read: I Wrote a Book About You
If you’re looking for a way to express your feelings to a loved one, but have a bit of writer’s block, I Wrote a Book About You is a perfect starting point. Complete with prompts like, “If I had to create a sandwich for you, here’s what would be on it,” and “If I could give you a trophy, it would be for,” you’ll be filling up the pages in no time.
13. For the family member with deep roots: Family Tree Fill-in-the-Blank Poster
The person in your life who appreciates family history will adore this family tree art illustration from FreshRetroGallery that creatively displays ancestry branches back six generations. When filling it out, you may have to do a little sleuthing to unearth historical basics, like maiden names, birth, marriage and death dates and place of residency, but once compiled, it presents a stunning, vintage-style vision of a family's history. (Pro tip: Ancestry can help!) Each order includes two 19-by-13-inch prints in natural or white parchment-style paper. Roll it up with a ribbon or have it framed.
14. For the person who loves Hot Ones: DIY Hot Sauce Kit
If your friend watches Hot Ones for the hot sauces rather than the celebrity interviews, they need to try their hot sauce-making kit. With a variety of peppers and spices, you can take what you like about your sauces to make one that’s just right for you. Coming with four festive skull-shaped jars, you can try different variations to find the perfect sauce to put on your breakfast, burritos or fried chicken. If you have no idea where to get started, this kit comes with a handy recipe booklet to give you some inspiration.
15. For the amateur whiskey master: Do Your Whisky Infusion DIY Kit
The difference between Irish whiskey, single malt scotch, American bourbon, or Japanese whiskey may go over your head, but we all have a friend who prides themselves on sniffing and sipping out the differences. This Whisky Infusion kit will turn your giftee's home into the hottest tasting room in town. With a variety of wood chips and a handy recipe book, you’ll be able to create the whiskey of your dreams to impress family and friends. And of course, it includes a set of whiskey stones to keep your drink chilled.
16. For the one who appreciates art: Springtime Paint-by-Number Kit
Painting may be fun, but it takes real talent to create something worthy of hanging on a friend’s wall. With this Springtime Paint-by-Number Kit, you can make a beautiful vintage-style still life of flowers in a vase in just three to five hours—no painting expertise required. Reviewers love how relaxing the process is and how the brushes and paints are high quality. Finish your gift off with a nice frame that makes it pop.
17. For the one with a jewelry collection: Bead Crochet Kit
Friendship bracelets are always a great way to show someone you care, but you don’t have to use the same summer camp methods you learned as a kid. This highly rated DIY kit helps elevate your jewelry-making game with bead crocheting, a technique that features tiny, brilliant Japanese seed beads. This kit is best for those who have tried bead crocheting before, but the seller also offers a DIY tutorial video for any beginners who need some help getting started.
18. For the techie: DIY Felt Robot Kit
While the tech-savvy person in your life will undoubtedly have their eye on a new TV or gaming system, this adorable felt robot is a perfect stocking stuffer. Complete with all the materials and instructions you need, this kit is perfect for even those with know sewing experience. Reviewers love how simple the robot is to make, and how cute it is, measuring just 4 inches tall.
19. For the one who appreciates a good scent: Yinuo Light Scented Candle Making Kit
Whether they’re store-bought or hand-poured, candles make a great gift. They’re pretty, thoughtful and can really refresh a room—something we all can appreciate this year when our living rooms have doubled as both home offices and schools. This highly rated kit has everything you need to make your own: six Pollock-esque candle tins, candle dyes, fragrance oils, beeswax and more. Plus, after your giftee uses up the candle itself, the tin doubles as a vessel for succulents or other knickknacks.
20. For the cheesemonger at heart: The Ultimate Cheese Making Kit
Exploring the wide array of cheeses at your local shop is a true delight. But what about making the cheese yourself? For the star cheeseboard maker in your life, get them The Ultimate Cheese Making Kit. With this kit, you can make 10 different types of cheeses. With the inclusion of herbs and spices, you’ll have full creative freedom over the creamy treats you want to make. Friends will be asking where you got this divine cheese and you’ll be thrilled to tell them it can from your very own kitchen.
21. For the plant parent: Plants Transparent Embroidery Kit
Your friend who has been exercising their green thumb during quarantine will appreciate this token that celebrates the flowers and plants in their life. As delicate as it may look, this bestselling embroidery kit is great for beginners and is sure to wow. Choose from baby’s breath, dandelions and more for patterns or opt to make all four for a complete set.
22. For the friend who has their hands full: DIY Keychain Painting Kit
This DIY kit is more than just a keychain. Included with the painting supplies to decorate the wooden initial of your giftee, there are also materials to add tassels and even a bangle—perfect for the parent who’s trying to juggle kids and bags and not lose their keys. Decorate it with some of their favorite colors and they’ll be proud to wear it on their wrist and feel great knowing it won’t get lost in the shuffle.
23. For the one into cottagecore: Hedgehog Needle Felting Kit
This needle felting kit is made for anyone whose aesthetic revolves around woodland creatures like these cute hedgehogs. Perfect for beginners, this step-by-step kit includes everything you need to make two or three fuzzy hedgehogs, depending on how large you opt to make them. The finished product is a cute stocking stuffer that will look good on a shelf or keep your loved one company on their desk as they work from home.
24. For the one who loves flowers: Hand Embroidery Kit
If you’re not able to hand-deliver a fresh bouquet of flowers, consider hand-stitching one instead. The rich, vibrant colors of this flower embroidery kit are sure to stun and reviewers say the step-by-step instructions are easy enough for a complete embroidery novice to follow.
25. For the wannabe renaissance sculptor: Luna Bean Hands Casting Kit
If you have a friend who is in awe of the marble statues at the art museum, give them the pleasure of sculpting made easy. This casting set allows you to create a mold that will become a memorable keepsake. Couples celebrating an engagement, wedding or anniversary can cast their hands to create a beautiful piece that looks museum-worthy. With your stunning, personal sculpture, you might have your friends believing you spent an arm and a leg on a professional piece.
26. For the daydreamer: Yarn Unicorn Kit
The person in your life who loves unicorns and rainbows will appreciate these handcrafted figurines, which are super easy to make—simply wrap yarn around the unicorn-shaped cardboard skeletons and you have a couple of mystical animals ready for holiday magic.
27. For the woodworker: Professional Wood Burning Kit
Maybe your friend has tried whittling or carpentry as a pastime and they’re ready for their next hobby. That’s where wood burning comes in. With this 116 piece seat, the woodworker in your life can begin creating beautiful designs through wood burning. This set includes different tips to put on the wood burning tool as well as a massive array of designs to get the wheels turning. With a little practice, your giftee will be turning out stunning designs and maybe even going freehand.
28. For the tree hugger: Yarn Tree Kit
We’ve saved potentially the easiest DIY gift for last. This highly rated kit features a pre-assembled wire tree and all the yarn you’ll need to wrap it up in bright colors—but the design is entirely up to you. It is easy to complete and your loved one will appreciate the fact that they have a new tree for hanging jewelry or brightening up a bookcase.
29. For the friend looking for a new hobby: DIY Miniature Library Bookstore Kit
If your friend is in need of a hobby to get them through a winter of staying at home, consider gifting them one that's time consuming (in a great way). This DIY miniature library kit will take hours to build by hand, but that's part of the fun. In the end, you're left with a whimsical miniature vignette and a huge sense of satisfaction.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.